Dresses to Wear on Vacation (plus a tropical packing list)

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March 22, 2024

dresses to wear on vacation, womens vacation wear, tropical vacation wear, tropical vacation packing list

Dreaming of your next tropical getaway? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I obviously have you covered on destinations galore, but no trip is complete without the right wardrobe. I had so many great looks on my recent trip to Mexico, and it got me thinking. Where do you shop for dresses to wear on vacation? I have a few of my go-to shops, so I figured I’d take a break from the regularly scheduled travel content and share some tropical vacation wear. Here’s my ultimate guide to picking out the perfect dresses and womens vacation wear for your next tropical escape.

Dresses to Wear on Vacation

dresses to wear on vacation, womens vacation wear, tropical vacation wear, tropical vacation packing list

First things first, let’s talk dresses! Whether you’re lounging by the pool, exploring local markets, or enjoying a sunset dinner on the beach, having the right dresses to wear on vacation is key. Let’s start with something versatile yet chic – the ever-popular maxi dress. Ironically, I think this is my first tropical vacation ever that I didn’t bring a maxi dress, ha! But maxi dresses are perfect for a casual day strolling the beach or dressing up for a night out. Breathable fabrics like cotton or linen that keep you cool in the tropical heat are ideal.

What I did on this trip was add a pop of color with vibrant sundresses. I’m not always one for bold floral prints or bright tropical colors, but I was feeling it on this visit to Mexico. Strappy heels or trendy sandals paired with a statement earring and macrame bag finish off a fabulous tropical vacation look.

dresses to wear on vacation

Favorite Online Stores for Womens Vacation Wear

Now that we’ve covered dresses to wear on vacation, let’s talk about the rest of your vacation wardrobe. When it comes to tropical vacation wear, breezy tops, linen bottoms, and comfortable shorts are perfect. I love a good matching set, but you can also mix and match separates to create multiple outfits without overpacking.

matching sets


Tropical Vacation Wear

dresses to wear on vacation, womens vacation wear, tropical vacation wear, tropical vacation packing list

And don’t forget about accessories! Obviously, sunglasses are a requirement and one of my favorite ways to add a bit of fierce elegance to a look. Another great accessory is a wide-brim sunhat. I love how fabulous a good hat can be, and protection from the sun is always a huge plus. One unexpected accessory I love for tropical vacations is a good statement jewelry piece – I’ve been into earrings lately.

Finally, bring a beach bag to throw all your essentials, like sunscreen and facial mist, into. When you aren’t hitting the pool or beach at least one small bag just for your phone and room key is perfect.


Tropical Vacation Packing List

1. Dresses (maxi dress, sundress, shirt dress)
2. Beach cover-up (kaftan, sarong)
3. Breezy tops and skirts (ideally linen!)
4. Lightweight shorts
5. Swimsuits
6. Sandals and flip-flops
7. Sun hat and sunglasses
8. Statement jewelry
9. Beach bag
10. Sunscreen and after-sun lotion

Swimsuits & Coverups

dresses to wear on vacation, womens vacation wear, tropical vacation wear, tropical vacation packing list

This might be the single most important piece of any tropical vacation! There are so many options to choose from, but I always make sure to bring at least 1 one-piece and 1 bikini. As for coverups, I like versatile options that can be worn with or without a swimsuit underneath. That way I get more outfits out of what I can fit in my suitcase. A great online option for swimsuits and coverups is Cupshe. The Cupshe girlies know what a great deal you can get, but read this Cupshe swimsuits review if you’ve never shopped there!

One of my favorite little hacks is taking a lightweight fall scarf and using that as a wrap skirt. I use my Louis Vuitton shawl as a wrap skirt and it doubles the wear I can get out of it in the year!



Ok, now I’m ready to go on another trip! With this packing list, you’ll be ready for anything your tropical vacation throws at you. Unless you’re the type that goes hiking or hits the gym. Then you’ll also want to bring some athletic wear and proper shoes. But that’s not me so definitely not on my essentials for a tropical vacation packing list! Either way, go ahead, book that flight, pack your bags, and get ready to soak up the sun in style. Bon voyage, you tropical goddess!

What are your favorite dresses to wear on vacation? What’s on your tropical vacation packing list?

Photos by Ryan Carpenter.

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